JOHNSON WRAPS UP THE 2006 NHRA SEASON WITH SIXTH PLACE FINISH POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2006) -- Tommy Johnson Jr. would have preferred to move up in the point standings this season. The driver of the Don Prudhomme-owned Skoal Racingsm Monte...
JOHNSON WRAPS UP THE 2006 NHRA SEASON WITH SIXTH PLACE FINISH
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2006) -- Tommy Johnson Jr. would have preferred to move up in the point standings this season. The driver of the Don Prudhomme-owned Skoal Racingsm Monte Carlo finished sixth in the NHRA POWERade Funny Car point standings in 2005 and was looking to move up at least one spot this season.
It didn't happen and for the second consecutive season, Johnson finished sixth in the standings. Still, Johnson came close and couldn't be happier with the way the crew worked this weekend during the season finale Automobile Club of Southern California Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
"We are the only single-car entry in the top 10," Johnson said. "I'm pleased with the season we had because all I wanted us to do was improve on last year and we did that. We matched the points finish, but we're a better team. We won two races this season and qualified in the No. 1 position twice too. We're a stronger group than last year and I think it's only going to improve in the offseason."
Johnson won his first round matchup against Gary Scelzi. Johnson recorded a 5.000-second pass at 279.61 mph to beat Scelzi's 7.419 at 116.02.
"I think we finished the season on a good note," Johnson said. "The car ran well and even though it's disappointing not to win the last race of the year, I am not at all disappointed in the performance of the car. Especially lately. The guys have done a great job preparing the car for competitive racing."
Johnson said the key to the improved performance this season was simple.
"Our consistency since Brainerd (August) was a big reason why we were able to be competitive every weekend," he said. "We have not only been consistent, but consistently quick and I would say we were one of the top three performing cars in the last half of the season.
"That alone already gives me confidence going into next season. I know we can carry that momentum over and I'm already enthusiastic about what we can do next season."
The work done between rounds on Sunday was just another reason why Johnson is confident the team will continue to improve next season.
"We had a problem with the clutch in the first pass of the day," Johnson said. "It came apart on that run and we were lucky to get the win. The crew guys make a problem like that seem routine. They never act like it's a big deal, they know they can handle it. I love that about those guys and we're lucky that everyone is coming back next season. We're going to build on the chemistry and fine tune the program."
Johnson earned two wins in three final rounds this season along with two No. 1 qualifiers en route to the sixth-place finish.